I understand that there were some issues with the Jan Distance meet concerning check-in.
What we've been doing for a while is to post heat times & psych sheets on the web, indiacate how many heats we expect to save due to no shows, and state the latest a swimmer should come there. And if warmup is not available, when we will interrupt for warm ups. Then you come to the meet, sign in, and the fastest 8 (or 6) swimmers there will be scheduled to swim in the next heat. You continue doing this alternating men & women. It works really well.
You don't need to know ahead of time who isn't coming, you don't need to get there at 0630 and then wait hours to swim. You show up an hour or so before your anticipated swim time, warm up, then get scheduled to swim.